A 'Cost Down' Genba Kanri Strategy

Background

This client is a well-respected UK manufacturer of fluid control mechanisms. Although celebrating its centenary, it is seeing many of its domestic competitors falter in the face of ever-cheaper imports. It introduced an operational structure more appropriate to the 21st Century; invested in educating its First Line Managers - but it needs results!   

It needed to:   

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 improve the skills of its people

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apply GK

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put money in the till

An exploratory Workshop took place: there was some scepticism: 'Genba Kanri?' yet another 'snake oil' remedy?! It was decided to focus on a machining/ assembly facility which was already one of the best on site in terms of output per person, and with an enthusiastic Team Leader. 

Initial Workshop Objectives: 

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  Test the Approach

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  Validate the Benefits

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  Move from Education to Training

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  Enrol Support Functions

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A glance at the area confirmed the work paradigm:      "Pile 'em high and go like the clappers!"

On the machine changeover, the biggest surprise was the lack of a standard method - it had been assumed that there was one! The operator spent a lot of time walking from round the machine - see spaghetti diagram...

Over the three days of the Workshop, two sub-teams looked at Assembly and Changeovers. Results (not 'proposals') were effectively achieved in two days - but they were re-confirmed a month after the event to ensure they were sustained! Challenge Target Actual
Reduce Assembly Time 10% 13%
Reduce Floor-to-Floor Time 20% 90%
Reduce Changeover Time 20% 36%
The total costs of the Workshop, including hardware, overtime payments and consultancy fees were 7,102; the total savings 10,321 - so that put money in the till. 

More importantly, the seeds had been sown for Genba Kanri - better management and improvement of the area. Nine months later, further improvements had increased productivity by 160%.

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Fifteen more Workshops were conducted around the plant on a variety of themes. Over the following nine months, savings resulting directly from Workshops and follow-on activities - when people started doing it for themselves - exceeded half a million pounds!

Common physical changes were the introduction of one piece flow; cellular manufacturing and the linking/balancing of processes.

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 This initial phase of Genba Kanri brought better standards for 'what' and 'how' - defining what exactly is expected, and the best known method of achieving it; better materials management; better target control, and increased confidence and competence for people to make autonomous improvements. 

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